I Regret Lending Money to Friend - Please Help

I'm looking for advice on how to recoup funds I lent to a friend.

My friend asked to borrow $10k to pay legal fees related to the settlement of an investment scheme. I regret lending him money because my gut tells me that I won't get my money back. I trusted my friend and didn't do my due diligence - this is was my mistake. He said he'd return my money within 1 week and it's now going on 4 weeks.

1st red flag - after sending him the funds (Saturday), he asked me for another $7k the very next day!! (Sunday). He said that he sent the $10k to his friend (who I don't know), whom is also in this investment scheme to pay for the legal fees. However, his friend's doctor/hospital took $7k out for "cancer treatment". WTF?! Doctor's just don't direct debit $7k on a Sunday, they'll usually call and ask for your card details. Even so, who doesn't have the money ready for their life-saving treatment?! I said no and he had the nerve to ask me to ask my parents…

2nd red flag - he says things like "Don't lose sleep, I'll take you to Nobu and on a shopping spree once the money settles" and "just a few more days, trust the process" This comes off very charlatan-like and rather evasive, not very assuring at all. I get the feeling he is only saying this to keep me calm.

I'd appreciate any advice on how to best approach the situation. I want my $10k back and I don't care if the friendship is over. I am stressed out and it's affecting my job/work and personal relationships.

TLDR: Lent friend $10k for "legal case". Gut tells me that he is a degenerate gambler. How to get money back.

Edit 1: I already feel shit as it is. If you don't have anything constructive to say, please gtfo.


    • Hopefully he didn't spend his last dime on his scammy 'friend' Pam, otherwise his best friend (even a Bellroy wallet) is at risk of housing moths for security.

  • +5

    Small claims. It's always a crap shoot and he probably won't pay you if you win anyway. But no lawyers involved.

  • +23

    return my money within 1 week

    Actually, this was your first red flag. There aren't many legit scenarios to borrow that amount for such a short amount of time.

    rather evasive

    I expect you will hear lots of excuses in the future.

    I'll take you to Nobu and on a shopping spree

    You'll be very lucky to get your money back. The behaviour you described is not in line with people who typically return money.

    it's affecting my job/work and personal relationships.

    Your friend is more concerned about shopping sprees and doesn't care about you. It's a hard lesson to learn and unfortunately you learnt it in a painful way.

    I've been successful in getting money back with someone after being open about it with people in the social/professional circle of the debtor, as it embarrasses them and causes them to lose face. Maybe that's something you can try.

    • +5

      Thanks, will keep try this

    • +1

      yes - another option may be to try to find out where they work

      if their boss wouldn't want to continue employing someone with such morals, that may be the 'encouragement' needed

      up to you whether, if you find out who is their boss, you then tell the borrower first as an last opportunity to pay, or just tell the boss towards getting them fired or possibly even garnisheed

      one guy I knew found an a/hole parking in his privately owned carspace repeatedly, and who was so blase that he left his work ID card visible inside the car, showing he had some high-paid job at some top company, so obviously felt quite confident and self-entitled about parking in someone else's private carspace

      turns out the carspace owner knew and was friendly with the boss of that company, so a quick phone call and the a/hole no longer worker there.

      karma kamon !

      • +3

        What's wrong with people today!? At least pour some pureed prawn heads down the windscreen air vents first!

    • Just be careful about what you say on social media about them because of defamation laws. Do something on your Facebook like post " Firstname Lastname, When will you be paying back the $10 000 I lent you? You said you would repay me within a week, it's been over 4 weeks now." So everyone can see it.

      That way you can let everyone know they're dodgy without specifically calling them dodgy. You never know, they might repay you so you can take that post off your Facebook.

  • +7

    It's all good. The Nigerian prince now has the settlement fee and will ship the $16,000,000 of his dead fathers fortune to your friend very soon.

    But at least you had a contract for the return of the money…

    You did have a contract for the return of the money, right???

    • +5

      Maybe better to have a contract out for the return of the money.

  • +8

    It sounds like a scam/collapsed Ponzi scheme and they're tapping the gullible for more money.

    The biggest question right now is whether your friend is one of the victims ("Oh, I am so close to getting the money back, we must trust the process, also the next step requires more money for them..") or a perpetrator ("You need to trust the process, now send me more money").

    I doubt anything is recoverable, but cut through their double talk and extra explanations ("Spending spree? I have no interest in going on a spending spree, I loaned you 10K for legal fees, now I don't care about someone else you knew or doctor fees or any of that, either give me my 10K back or get me my copy of the receipt from the lawyer firm so I can contact them directly to discuss this").

    Depending on how well you know them, you can impose a social cost on them if they're not doing the right thing - angry posts on their FB wall, call their parents/siblings/mutual friends and tell them that they ripped you off and so on. If they're genuinely sitting on some money they had hoped you'd stay quiet about they'll push it back to you to shut you up. Even if that's not the case, you're saving everyone you contact from falling for the same nonsense from them.

    • +4

      I think he may be the victim of the scheme… thank you for your advice.

      • +13

        Interestingly we had an family member that was going round asking everyone for money saying she was victim of a scam. Turned out she was the scammer and owed about $50000 to individuals she had scammed and the same or more to banks. I didn’t give her anything - actually exposed her to her family since I was one of the people she tried to scam. I believe with pressure from family and friends she has now repayed everything over many years. If you know any of this person’s family or friends it’s probably worth talking to them. Our person had a history of doing this and it was family pressure that sorted her out. It’s likely your ‘friend’ has a history of doing this too.

  • -1

    yeah probably best not to give anymore money to them.

  • youve been catfished my friend

  • +4

    I'll take you to Nobu

    You mean this place inside a casino https://www.crownsydney.com.au/indulge/nobu ?

    Me thinks you knew this person gambled.

    • Yeah I do, but I haven't concluded that it is gambling related.

  • Find out who your 'ex' friend owes money to and see if you can give them a call.
    They might sort him out for you…

    • +1

      Pretty sure he owes $17k to OP

      • Think you are missing my point.
        "Gut tells me that he is a degenerate gambler."
        I'd take a guess, the 'friend' owes money to someone else too.

      • +2

        Nah, just 10. I didn't lend him the 7

        • -1

          How will he pay for his legal fees then with only $3k? Be a good friend and give $7k.

        • Use that as leverage?

          Say that you are happy to give him 7 if he returns the 10k, or as much as he can right now.

          Obviously dont give him the 7, but maybe they are dumb enough to return some of your money back

          • +2

            @serpentxx: We're beyond that now, I don't believe the "cancer friend" story.

  • +5

    I'll take you to Nobu and on a shopping spree once the money settles

    Can I come ?

    • +7

      Ozbargain meetup. OP's shout.

      • Its a bit hard when the place has been in lockdown for so long .
        Probably OP didn't think of that .

    • +1

      I’ll take you to Nobu, and after a very expensive meal I’ll discover I left my wallet at home … Don’t worry mate, I’ve booked you an expensive holiday. I’ll drop off the vouchers when they arrive

  • +7

    Are you trolling OP?

    Who Should Pay for This Surgery?

    • Either that or they just have a really shitty & weird life.

  • +1

    Experience Is Expensive

    • -1


      • +3

        Experiencing the loss of 10k is an expensive experience.

  • +2

    You got their bank account number,
    Time to setup some direct debts for $10k in upcoming bills 👍

    When the first payment comes out remind him to trust the system

    • -2

      Hmm this might actually work. Thanks.

      • +5

        no it won't work, if he is a gambler the money is gone, it is also illegal to do without his authorisation and you could turn your $10k into a prison sentence/criminal conviction.

      • +2

        You'll get in more trouble for fraud..using his details without his authority

    • +1

      Putting someone else's bank account details into direct debits that the OP is responsible for is likely to get the OP in trouble.

  • +4

    To me it sounds like your 'friend' is putting even more money into the investment scheme (likely ponzi/crypto related). There is no legal case, just him putting even more money into a scam thinking it will come good. Do you know the name of the scheme?

    Or he's just gambling the money away.

    You have my sympathy as it's a horrible thing to experience.

    • +2

      You are spot on… he told me every paycheck for the last couple months (not including the initial investment) has been going into this

      • -1

        Why is this not more prominent in your OP?

        If he is dumb enough to invest in a ponzi and he is putting money in to there instead of paying you back, then your chances of recovery are even lower.

    • +1


  • +7

    He put the 10k on red when he should have put it on black.

    • Rookie error!

      • +4

        Always bet on black

    • +1

      Or green.

    • +2

      5k on red, 5k on black.

      You will never not lose.

      • +2

        Unless green 0 or 00.

    • It is a mistake we all made that is if you have a friend life :)

  • +7

    I hope you had some form of written agreement. You might be able to recoup the money through legal channels.

    Personally, I'd tell him you have a relative overseas with a medical issue that needs money fast for treatment and need the money back fast. Play him at his own game and see what happens.

    You should also consider giving him a belting. Coming from a family of SP bookies, it often speeds up the payment process.

    Don't be a jellyback. Be an a**ehole.

    • +1

      Not endorsing violence, but there is a full range of responses available in this situation, and the borrower doesn’t necessarily know where you would stop.

    • If you need to put terms in writing when lending a friend or family money, You should reconsider who is your friends and maybe stay away from your family.

      Both for your sake.. and theirs.

      • +3

        You always need to put it in writing when there's $10k on the line.

        If your friend gets upset at signing an agreement to borrow a large sum of money, well, that shows they're not really your friend.

        • Never have I asked a friend.. nor have I ever been asked by a friend…


          • @Archi: Do you lend each other 5-figure sums?

            I don't ask friends for a contract when we buy concert tickets or whatever, but if we're talking more money than my car is worth I'm gonna get some ink on paper. I've read this story too many times.

            • @abb: i've helped my friends out of rough patches over the years,

              i've helped friends secure a deposit for their first home.

              i've given my sister close to half a million dollars for a period of 2 years between the sale of my house and buying another one, so that she could pay less interest for that period.

              all i'm saying is you need to pick and choose the friends and family you loan money to. if you need to put it in writing, you really need to think whether you should be loaning that money

              • @Archi: If you can do the lending without written note for half a million, then good for you.

                Not many people in this community can afford to do that though.

                • @wongjy12: it's not the amount that matters it's the relationship..

                  if you cant trust the person your lending to then why do it, whether that be $1000 or $1,000,000

                  • @Archi: Because you are trying to help someone, but you are also trying to protect yourself if anything goes wrong and things go sour.

                    I have a friend who lent a lot of money to his relative whom he loves and trusts, fully expecting the person to return the money. It never happens.

                    I am not saying that my friend would get his money back if there is a written note, but at least there is a chance.

                    Trust can be abused easily.

                    And of course if you have more disposable cash and higher income, you can afford to lose more money. If I lose $10k, I would probably take it as a lesson learnt and move on. However to someone like OP, $10k might mean a lot more.

                    • @wongjy12: if the person has no intention of returning the money borrowed, a piece of paper is not going to change anything.

                      hence you should be careful who you lend money to,

                      in your friends case, that's trust being abused, frankly if that was anyone else, that is an expensive lesson and could happen to anyone. but a written agreement wouldn't have changed that scenario.

                      • @Archi: Well at least you can pursue legal action and try to get some money back.

                        Without the paper there is nothing you can do.

                        • @wongjy12: scenario 1.
                          have a written agreement to loan a friend 10K, because you are expecting them to return the money but in the slight chance they dont i can persue legal action and sue them and still hope to get some money back and lose a friend.

                          scenario 2
                          don't lend the money, the slight chance the friend gets upset because you didn't loan them the money and doesn't talk to you.

                          either way you still lost the friend. i know what i'd be choosing

    • +3

      Yeah this. I'd be bashing them in the toilets at Nobu.

      • in the toilets at Nobu

        I think they'd be at The Star or Crown

  • +1

    This is where an Aussie version of Judge Judy would be of assistance 😉

    Ensure all your communication with your former mate is in writing. Let him know that due to delay in repayment, it is now subject to late payment interest rate xx%.

    Good luck with recouping your money.

  • +23

    TLDR: I am sorry to hear that. But I think you wont get them back, especially if you suspect them using it for gambling. You can try to keep "pestering" them, but it wont be long before you lose contact and they block you on all communication channel. Rather than being stressed out by this and spending more time and energy to get them back, I would advise to just move on and use your time better in earning them again.

    My experience:
    I had similar experience where a friend of mine was borrowing money for daily necessity. Over a year, it turns into more than $24k+, with promise to pay almost every single month. However, what happened was they keep asking for more money with whatever excuses they can come up with that week: food, paying bills, debt recoveries, penalties etc. I later found out that they are struggling with daily necessity because they gamble the money away. I was blocked by them in all communication channel and social media, after years of asking for an update on when I can get my money back. This person was working at the office full time, in Australia. If anyone is working full time, there is no way people dont have any saving, except if their lifestyle spending cannot match their earning. If this is the scenario, I would say dont lend to people with such lifestyle. You wont get your money back.

    So what I learned was dont lend people cash, even if they promise to pay you back with additional x% on top of it. If you do lend someone money with no written contractual agreement, consider that as a charity. If you get it back then it is a bonus. After all you lend them because of compassion at the first place.

    If you lend people money with intention to get the extra x% back, then consider them as high risk investment where your money can be gone. As many people said "when it is too good to be true then…"

    That being said, it doesnt mean we dont help people who are genuinely struggling. If you do have compassion toward someone, maybe we also need to invest our time in their lives. For example, understanding what do they actually need the money for and pay it towards their needs directly (for example, buying a supermarket gift card or offer to pay their outstanding bill directly). This might be better than just giving them cash with not much question ask.

    I also lend many other people to pay for their kids school (overseas) and their university/college tuition fee. In this scenario, I did not expect the money back because i did it out of compassion. When they graduated or their kids finishing the school grade, some of them do ask for some more time before they can start to pay me back. I know they are genuinely good people who are struggling so i waived the debt and just ask them to one day pay it forward to anyone who might be in needs.

    • +4

      You are a very nice person. God bless you!

    • +1

      Your suggestion of paying the bills, rather than handing out money for the alleged bill, is a pretty good alternative. There's always the possibility the compulsive gambler will now divert bill money towards even more gambling however.

      Obviously hindsight is 20/20 and no one thinks they'll get scammed by a friend, but in the OP's case the better alternative would have been to ask for the legal fees invoice. The scammer's case will quickly fall apart, or they may use emotional language like 'what, you don't believe me!?'

      The OP's case got even worse when they were asked money for a 'cancer treatment'. Not only was the scammer committing fraud, they're doing it in one of the worst possible ways. Everyone wants to help a friend who is sick, and it's basically emotional coercion on top of the crime. Maybe the scammer will be unlucky enough to actually get cancer and see how it feels.

      The tactic of 'I need money for medical treatment' is also a mainstay of online dating scams. The 'medical treatments' never end until the victim is bled dry.

  • +4

    Only give money that you can lose

    • Sound like only invest the money you can lose.

      • +1

        It annoys me that a friend would not pay back such a loan. Not really a friend. Even if it all went to sht he could at least try and pay it pack in small instalments.

  • I'd appreciate any advice on how to best approach the situation. I want my $10k back and I don't care if the friendship is over. I am stressed out and it's affecting my job/work and personal relationships.
    TLDR: Gut tells me that he is a degenerate gambler. How to get money back.

    The best way for you to get your 10k back is the same way you got it in the first place, which I'm guessing is long term saving. This sucks as I'm guessing $10k is a lot for you.

    The best way for you to approach the situation is to not let it eat yourself up. We all make mistakes. That's life. Learn from it and move on the best you can. For some, it might be throwing yourself into a hobby, relationship or work… for others, it might be revenge (not that it's a good route to take) It might take time. I'm guessing that if you put much more energy into this, you're either setting yourself up for a fall or for a future scam where you throw good money after bad.

  • +1

    sounds like someone who been to the casino and owns money. The promise of shouting to nobu (at the casino) indicates a expectation payout of some sort. This is coming from someone in the famliy who had massive gambling debts as the same casino.

    • I have seen people ask pit bosses for loans at my local casino, and every time they are rebuffed with a very firm "no way." How does someone owe money to a casino? I'm assuming they weren't a high roller who can sometimes get special deals.

      Maybe the compulsive gambler took money from loan sharks?

      • +1

        Not pit bosses.

        From what i knew, there are people hang around tables there that offer loans with interest by the hour. Considering some people can crawl back their loses within the hour it's a attractive offer.

        I don't condone gambling, it you'll never win folks. It destorys famlies.

        If you suspect someone is gambling, act fast and get help. They maybe in alot of trouble.

    • +1

      Good pick up there on "Nobu (at the casino)". It is a good red flag.

  • How long have you been friends for?

    • -2

      It does sound like they met online. A few weeks ago, at most. <Sighs>

      • Where does it say that

    • +2

      Known him 10+, "good friends" last 6 years

  • +3

    When you say friend is this like a close friend or someone you've just known for a long time. There were quite a few "investors" in my high school.

    I lost a similar amount years ago to family, but at least it was family (so in my head I justify it as helping everyone else around them in my family, thereby reducing the group burden…though in reality I could have made things worse). As a reflex, I've since made myself appear to be the poorest, least reliable person anyone knows. So I'd by lying if I said it teaches you but doesn't change you.

  • +3

    You only have 2 options, forget about the debt and move on, or get a bunch of friends together go and nudge him in the right direction of paying you back.

  • Learn from your mistake, NEVER lend money to friends or family, PERIOD.

    The money is good as gone. Cops or lawyers aint gonna help ya, ya got to sort this out yourself (+ some mates) - if you know what i mean….

  • It's shit, it happens. Unfortunately you are likely to just have to put it down as a life lesson, never lend money to family and friends, if they were truly your friend they would not have asked for the money in the first place.

    you could try issuing a letter of demand and going to a debt collector, but if he is really a gambler it is probably throwing more good money after bad. I learnt this lesson 2 decades ago for a similar amount, have never made that mistake again.

    PS: If you don't care about the friendship at this point you could test him out to at least confirm the situation with a few lies of your own. Tell him you have been diagnosed with something deadly and need the money urgently back to pay for lifesaving treatment. Worst case he comes up with more excuses and you know for sure he is lieing or perhaps he comes through due a serious case of guilt.

    • if they were truly your friend they would not have asked for the money in the first place.

      Why's that?

      • +5

        Friends don't ask friends for loans. To many things can go wrong, if you value a friendship then keep money out of it.

        • Although I seek friendships where no topic is taboo, but can be hard to find such trustworthy ones on a level that transcends money. Understandable to keep money out of it by rule of thumb.
          Some silver lining here

          • @capslock janitor: If you want to "give" money that's fine. Just don't loan. Even the most honest trustworthy person can have a disaster leaving you holding the bag. So anything you give don't expect it back.

            Eg. Suppose you loan someone a short term 10k u can't afford to lose, but you trust them. Now imagine a car accident or perhaps their kid has a medical emergency that bankrupts them, no matter how good a person they are you will come second no matter the cost to you.

  • +6

    He said he'd return my money within 1 week

    Where is anyone getting 10k in a week dude?

    Set a reasonable time like 4 weeks and threaten to put a gypsy curse on him

  • There is a saying, lend money lose friend. Edit, just saw your edit, may be hire a lawyer, send your friend a letter demanding money back, if successful, lawyer will take a cut from the money you get back.

  • I would also say, lend money to relative lose relative. Only exception, money to parent or parent to children

  • Thanks op for posting, this will be a real life lesson for you and readers.

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